When Kevin Fitzgerald told his mom he wanted to be a comedian “when he grew up,” her answer was simple.
“She said ‘you can’t do both,’” Fitzgerald said.
That is, be a grown-up and a comedian. But Fitzgerald proved her wrong. And he even added an additional career to his plan: veterinarian. So by day, he fixes furry family members, often times gleaning new material in the process. Like when Binky and Jack came to the office. Turns out Binky, a biker, was the dog owner, and Jack, the dog. Not quite what Fitzgerald had expected.
“My job as a veterinarian provides no end of new material,” he said.
Then there was the time a wallaby that had eaten too much ice cream showed up in the office.
“Or the cat rescue place that had a fire and the fire marshall who said that he thought that the fire at the cat rescue place had been caused by mice! You can’t write stuff like that,” he said.
Fitzgerald returns to the Back Bowl in Eagle for Comedy Night at the Bowlmor on Saturday evening. Comedian Jeff Wozer opens the show.
“Get off the couch and come down,” Fitzgerald said. “Nobody laughs enough these days that is for sure.”
Vail Daily: Name an up-and-coming comic who made you belly laugh recently.
Kevin Fitzgerald: Even though I have done stand-up a long time, I am still a big fan of the this form of entertainment. We are lucky here in Denver to have a strong comedy community. National acts coming through and performing, established, talented local acts and a great crop of up-and-coming comics — and a lot of venues both to perform in and to just watch acts work. I laugh a lot at a variety of different comics, with a lot of different styles. Once when I was working for the Rolling Stones, someone asked Keith Richards who was the best band in the world. He said whoever was performing live onstage that night. I think that is true of comedy, too. Whoever is on stage making the audience laugh is the best.
VD: What do you like about performing at smaller venues, like the Back Bowl in Eagle?
KF: At smaller places like the Back Bowl, you get to really see the audience respond, to really see and weigh what the audience is reacting to, to see what is working (and what is not!), to try new stuff and to work on older bits. It is a really intimate place and the Vail Valley crowds are always fun. In a smaller place you have to concentrate and work a little harder, but it is worth it and pays off. I love working in Vail. Smaller places are different than the larger places but you can really connect with an audience. The Back Bowl is a great place to see live stand-up.
VD: What’s new in your world since you performed last at Comedy Night at the Back Bowl?
KF: Since the last time that I last worked at the Back Bowl I have opened for Craig Ferguson (so funny), Kevin Nealon, and the Sklar Brothers. I’ve also (opened for) a ton of strong Denver acts, like Josh Blue.
VD: What do you wish journalists would ask, but we never do?
KF: Journalists generally ask the same questions. They should not play it so safe and play out of their comfort zone. Maybe ask about comedy war stories or about what works with crowds and what doesn’t, about comedy secrets, and why people work the way they do. Maybe talk about the nature of comedy ...
VD: And what keeps you in the biz?
KF: I stay in comedy because I think I have something to say. To give my perspective to life and the humor, and to help other people see it, and just for a few minutes, to take them to another place, far from the trouble and problems of bosses, bills and the worries of life. And just for those few minutes, maybe I really am making a difference by making them laugh.
VD: Anything else I should know?
KF: Yes, you should know that I have a new DVD that has come out since I played in Vail. It has 42 minutes of my comedy, 42 minutes of my animal expeditions to the polar bears at the Arctic Circle, to the penguins and seals in Antarctica, to surgery on the sea turtles in the Keys, to the endangered animals of Mongolia, to putting radio transmitters on rattlesnakes here in Colorado, and filming humpbacks in Hawaii, and then 42 minutes of animal games for children — animal footprints and they tell me what species that they are tracking, X-rays from 30 years of what I have cut out of animal’s stomachs (I show the kids the X-rays then they make the call as to whether they need surgery or not) and finally animal trivia questions. It has been really well received, I think that there is something for everyone on it. Adults can watch it with kids and everyone can enjoy it! It turned out really well.
“I love working in Vail. Smaller places are different than the larger places but you can really connect with an audience. The Back Bowl is a great place to see live stand-up.”